The Human Factor

The Human Factor

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by Graham Greene, Colm Toibin
     
 

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Maurice Castle is a high-level operative in the British secret service during the Cold War. He is deeply in love with his African wife, who escaped apartheid South Africa with the help of his communist friend. Despite his misgivings, Castle decides to act as a double agent, passing information to the Soviets to help his in-laws in South Africa. In order to evade

Overview

Maurice Castle is a high-level operative in the British secret service during the Cold War. He is deeply in love with his African wife, who escaped apartheid South Africa with the help of his communist friend. Despite his misgivings, Castle decides to act as a double agent, passing information to the Soviets to help his in-laws in South Africa. In order to evade detection, he allows his assistant to be wrongly identified as the source of the leaks. But when suspicions remain, Castle is forced to make an even more excruciating sacrifice to save himself. Originally published in 1978, The Human Factor is an exciting novel of espionage drawn from Greene’s own experiences in MI6 during World War II, and ultimately a deeply humanistic examination of the very nature of loyalty. This edition features a new introduction by Colm Tóibín.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
The Human Factor is Greene’s most extensive attempt to incorporate into fiction what he had learned of espionage when recruited by MI6 during World War II . . . What it offers is a veteran excursion into Greene’s imaginative world . . . Sometimes seen as a brooding prober into the dark recesses of the soul where sins and scruples alike fester, he is equally at home in sending a narrative careering along at break-neck pace . . . Raising the demarcation line between ‘serious’ fiction and fast-plotted entertainment, Greene ensures that components of both jostle energizingly together in his pages.” –from the Introduction by Peter Kemp

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143105565
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/30/2008
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
259,762
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Graham Greene (1904-1991), whose long life nearly spanned the length of the twentieth century, was one of its greatest novelists. Educated at Berkhamsted School and Balliol College, Oxford, he started his career as a sub-editor of The Times of London. He began to attract notice as a novelist with his fourth book, Orient Express, in 1932. In 1935, he trekked across northern Liberia, his first experience in Africa, recounted in A Journey Without Maps (1936). He converted to Catholicism in 1926, an edifying decision, and reported on religious persecution in Mexico in 1938 in The Lawless Roads, which served as a background for his famous The Power and the Glory, one of several “Catholic” novels (Brighton Rock, The Heart of the Matter, The End of the Affair). During the war he worked for the British secret service in Sierra Leone; afterward, he began wide-ranging travels as a journalist, which were reflected in novels such as The Quiet American, Our Man in Havana, The Comedians, Travels with My Aunt, The Honorary Consul, The Human Factor, Monsignor Quixote, and The Captain and the Enemy. In addition to his many novels, Graham Greene wrote several collections of short stories, four travel books, six plays, two books of autobiography—A Sort of Life and Ways of Escape—two biographies, and four books for children. He also contributed hundreds of essays and film and book reviews to The Spectator and other journals, many of which appear in the late collection Reflections. Most of his novels have been filmed, including The Third Man, which the author first wrote as a film treatment. Graham Greene was named Companion of Honour and received the Order of Merit among numerous other awards.

Colm Tóibín is the award-winning author of five novels:The South, winner of the Irish Times/Aer Lingus Literature Prize; The Heather Blazing, winner of the Encore Award for best second novel; The Story of the NightThe Blackwater Lightship, which was a finalist for the Booker Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award; and, most recently, The Master, a finalist for the Man Booker Prize. His non-fiction includes Bad Blood: A Walk Along the Irish BorderHomage to BarcelonaThe Sign of the Cross: Travels in Catholic Europe; and, most recently, Love in a Dark Time. He is also the co-author, with Carmen Callil, of The Modern Library: The 200 Best Novels in English Since 1950.  He lives in Dublin, Ireland.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
October 2, 1904
Date of Death:
April 3, 1991
Place of Birth:
Berkhamsted, England
Place of Death:
Vevey, Switzerland
Education:
Balliol College, Oxford

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The Human Factor 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JVoakpark More than 1 year ago
This book is the culmination of Greene's writing career, combining the subject matter of his "entertainments" with the seriousness of his more "literary" works. Greene managed to write traditional novels that had much to say to the contemporary world.